19 Fun and Unique Elf on the Shelf Arrival Ideas

You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not forget that it’s almost time for your families elf (or elves?!) to return! If your kids are anything like mine they have been counting down the elf on the shelf arrival for MONTHS, and the anticipation of how their elves will arrive is always a hot topic!

Now is the time for all the moms to frantically begin searching for the perfect arrival idea! Lucky for you- I have all the best and unique elf on the shelf arrival ideas compiled right here in this post!

Also, grab your FREE printable Elf welcome letter here so your child can read all about their new elf coming to visit.

If you want a personalized letter like the one below made out to your little one, get one here as well!

When Does the Elf on the Shelf Come?

The Elf on the Shelf is a silly little dude, and he arrives whenever he wants! Some make their appearance Thanksgiving night, while other appear on December 1st.

If he doesn’t arrive by early December, you better write a little to Santa to find out where your little dude is!

Your elf heads back to the North Pole with Santa on Christmas Eve, so make sure your kids say goodbye until next year.

Elf on the Shelf Arrival Ideas

Whether you are looking for something simple or you are ready to go all out out with your elf’s arrival this year – I have you covered! Let your elf arrive in style this year in so many different ways.

1. Straight Outta Quarantine

In typical 2021 style, we can’t really have an elf on the shelf arrival idea without some mention of quarantine!

This hilarious elf on the shelf arrival idea would be perfect for the parent who would like an easy two weeks of elf hosting! Under strict guidance of the Department of Elf Magic all elves must quarantine upon arrival for two weeks!

Grab an Elf quarantine jar from Etsy here!

2. Straight from the North Pole

This elf didn’t waste any time at all- arriving directly from the North Pole in a postmarked box and snow to complete the whole magical feel. You can tell by the tiny footprints that the elf wasn’t able to patiently wait on the kids to wake up, but he did at least crawl back into the box before morning!

While flour will definitely do the trick in terms of snow- If you really want to step up your game you can get some of this magical snow to really make the morning exciting!

3. Flying in on a Paper Airplane

This Christmas season you may be looking for the some funny elf on the shelf arrival ideas! Here are some unique ideas with a welcome letter
via Busy Kids Happy Mom

This simple elf on the shelf arrival idea has it all! Simplicity and excitement! Your kids will love running into the family room to find their favorite Christmas friend suspended in the air on a magical elf airplane!

4. Coming via Hot Air Balloon

This Christmas season you may be looking for the some funny elf on the shelf arrival ideas! Here are some unique ideas with a welcome letter

If you want to step up your game just a bit, an arrival in a hot air balloon may do just the trick! You can even use some of these festive Christmas hot air balloon lanterns to tie the whole look together!

5. Brings Elf on the Shelf Cookies

Your kids will love this Elf on the Shelf arrival with sugar cookies; they’re adorable and yummy. Put the cookies on a platter with the Elf sitting in the middle.

6. Snowball Fight!

Here is one Elf on the Shelf arrival that your kids will definitely think is hilarious – a snowball fight.

If you don’t want to make this arrival, you can still make it be one of the crazy activities that your silly elf gets into throughout the month.

7. Special Delivery

Looking for something last minute or super simple? This special delivery arrival will be exactly what you need!

Grabbing an envelope from the post office and writing the words on front are all that you will need. Your kids will be delighted to find their elf arriving in such a fun way!

8. Flying Down on More Balloons

Something about balloons and these magical little elves just go together. Imagine the surprise on your little one’s faces when they wake up to find their elf floating across the room tied to a beautiful balloon bouquet!

9. With a North Pole Breakfast

This Christmas season you may be looking for the some funny elf on the shelf arrival ideas! Here are some unique ideas with a welcome letter

Who wouldn’t want to wake up to a North Pole breakfast surprise?! The possibilities for this elf on the shelf arrival are endless.

You can keep it as simple or go as elaborate as you like. But with fun and festive Christmas decorations, and a yummy Christmas breakfast you just can’t go wrong!

10. Inside a Balloon

This Christmas season you may be looking for the some funny elf on the shelf arrival ideas! Here are some unique ideas with a welcome letter

This time the elf comes in with a BANG! For real! Your little one will have to pop the balloon to rescue their elf on arrival day!

Your child may want to take it as an opportunity to show their elf around the house, or give a little hug while the elf is protected by the balloon! Making for a fun arrival bonus surprise!

11. Taped to mirror or door

Here is another easy elf arrival idea! All you need is your elf, some tape and something to write with! Your kids will be so excited to see their magical Christmas elf back for the season in such a silly way!

12. Magic Elf Dust

This arrival idea is perfect! Allow your elf to arrive with a small packet of magical dust allowing your little one to touch their elf for the very first time! This magical dust will ensure that your child can touch the elf without any harm, and will give your little one the chance to hug their elf tight! This will be an arrival that will not soon be forgotten!

13. Runway with Lights

You simply cannot go wrong with Christmas lights! Use the lights to light up a runway for your Christmas Scout elf, and watch the delight in your child’s eyes as they find their elf has finally arrived!

14. Landing in Christmas Tree

Another simple and fun idea- with very little props. All you need is your elf and some paper (and of course your Christmas tree!) Have your elf land in the Christmas tree after a very long trip from the north pole! For fun you can also do a crash landing!

15. Hiding in the Christmas Wreath

If you have a Christmas Wreath, this elf arrival idea would be simply perfect. Just place your elf inside the wreath and see how long it takes your little one to notice that their elf has arrived!

16. Random Act of Kindness

Maybe, your Elf on the Shelf arrival will bring with it a random act of kindness as a Secret Santa.

Your elf arrives with some candy or a few small gifts that you need to put on someone else’s doorstep.

This is such a fun way to start off the season and enjoy giving throughout the month.

17. Wrapped in Wrapping Paper or Christmas Box

Surprise! Your kids will be so excited to wake up and find such a fun gift just for them! It looks like the elf was excited in this photo as well- he just simply couldn’t stay wrapped up a second longer!

18. Stuck in the Blinds

This simple elf on the shelf arrival idea is sweet and straight to the point. Nevertheless your kids will be so surprised to wake up and find their elf in such a predicament!

19. Wrapping Himself Up

With a few scraps of wrapping paper, scissors and some tape, you have the perfect elf arrival idea! Your children will find it quite comical to find their elf trying to surprise them by wrapping up in the wrapping paper!


Don’t forget to grab your FREE printable Elf welcome letter here so your child can read all about their new elf coming to visit.

This Christmas season you may be looking for the some funny elf on the shelf arrival ideas! Here are some unique ideas with a welcome letter

If you want a personalized letter like the one below made out to your little one, get one here as well!

I hope that you are able to find an elf on the shelf arrival idea that will be perfect for you and your family this year! If you still need some help with your elves check out this list of elf names, and these fun last minute elf on the shelf ideas!

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